Communities like Tumblr and Instagram are made up of passionate individuals, so it’s pretty much going to be a short-term losing proposition whenever you announce changes to the service. No matter how small a change there will be SOME crying and gnashing of teeth. However, if the change you’re announcing is building advertising into your free-to-use service, well, there will be MUCH crying and gnashing of teeth.
Announced today via a photo post, the official Instagram account announced the policy change:
Over the past three years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community of more than 150 million people capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram is a place where people come to connect and be inspired, and our focus with every product we build is keeping it this way. We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community. Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine. We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience. As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this. Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more details. We’re excited to continue building Instagram alongside this inspiring community.
Seems pretty honest and straight forward. At least they aren’t springing this on us Facebook style. Being one of the largest photo sharing sites on the web comes with certain responsibilities, costs, and expectations. Not the least of which is that mystery of how to monetize a formerly free service. Building ads into your network is the probably the most direct route. Personally I think they might be missing an opportunity to partner with their members in offering some kind of stock photography service or revenue share, but I digress.
Surprisingly, the post has well over 100,000 likes, which would initially indicate a “We Cool” response from the IG population, but the comments on the post read slightly differently. Crying? Check. Gnashing of teeth? You bet. Many laying the blame at the feet of Facebook, who bought up IG last year.
Growing pains are rough, so hopefully Instagram can weather theirs and deliver on their promises of expanding their service. Hit the photo below to read all the carnage…